Engine: Creation Engine
Game: Fallout 4
Type: Single Player
Role: Level Designer
Intended Experience: 5 – 10 minutes gameplay
Development Time: 2 weeks
Being from Boston, I really wanted to try and capture a location that actually exists in real life and see how well it might live in the Commonwealth of Fallout 4. The Quincy Yacht Club is a place that exists exactly in game where it does in real life and was a test to try and transpose a physical location to a game space. Because the pleasurable lifestyle of yacht club goers has no place in the rough and tough world of Fallout 4 part of the charm of the building is the juxtaposition between what once was an upper class establishment and how it now stands disheveled and inhabited by Raiders. It is this exact irony I wanted to tap into in this location and it was my intent to capture that morbid irony that the Fallout series knows well. What boats remain outside the club are thrown around the now marshy swampland, repurposed by the Raiders as makeshift living spaces. The bar that once saw only the highest class visitors has now been practically raided for liquor with empty bottles littered around. The Quincy Yacht Club contains a pool table, bar, and lounge area opening out into the pier where boats were once parked. While the Raiders have mostly scavenged the area, there are some old and expensive relics hidden and left for explorers who could possibly flush them out.
The Quincy Yacht Club is a test of multiple areas of design. I wanted to tell a real story with the environment here, and there are actually a few stories told in this side location. What few skeletons of the original inhabitants remain show what they may have last been doing before they perished, including drinking themselves drunk or reaching for their beloved pocket watch. Inside the yacht club you can see the things the raiders do to pass the time. The pool table has scratch marks showing off the score of the most recent game, the bar has a cup stacking game started, and in the lounge the Raiders try to play checkers with bottlecaps. Hidden inside the club is a secret stash of caps and drugs from the Raiders as well as the finer wines stashed in the back of the bar. Outside the club you can see the living spaces of the Raiders, including one such member who still sleeps with a teddy bear by his bed while another won’t sleep without his trusted machete. Many more details exist in this relatively smaller location that can be found by observant players. While designing I wanted a clear definition of negative and positive space and lighting that would key the player into moving around the yacht club a certain way and would leave certain features either exposed and obvious to the player or hidden as small secrets. In this way I was able to design some storytelling features while also designing the room for movement and combat with the Raider inhabitants.
My approach in designing Quincy Yacht Club was to first gather as much reference material to the original location and then furnish it from new to destroyed. I constructed the building as I anticipated it might look, making all of the larger pieces of furniture such as tables, couches, and counters. At this point I furnished it as I expect it to look after the atomic bomb explosion and the several decades of nobody using it, including all the vines and overgrowth that might have taken over. At this point I started to envision what would happen if the Raiders took over, and the sort of antics they might do in a place like this. The pool table would see use, the bar would be not only disheveled but empty liquor bottles would be thrown everywhere. The books and expensive trinkets of the upper class would be worthless to a bunch of bumbling Raiders, who would likely throw books out or use them as coasters or ashtrays at best. Taking this approach I was able to build out the area in 3 stages of deterioration which really gave it some character from each time.